Those pesky stickers on the covers of books
An interview with William Campos of Cloud Lodge Books
29th June 2020
Cloud Lodge Books have come to our attention over the past couple of years. They are an impressive independent publisher featuring a small number of avant garde authors. What I guess struck us most about their books initially was their quite sensational covers. As we have said several times before, it matters not what lies between the covers if no one is going to pick up a book in store or be struck by the cover when browsing online. But, believe me, what is between the covers is also very good and very thought provoking…
We were very pleased to recently secure an interview with William Campos, the founder and driving force behind Cloud Lodge Books.
TF: Can you tell us a little about Cloud Lodge Books, and how and why the company came into being?
WC: I founded Cloud Lodge Books in 2016 to publish carefully curated, daring literary fiction and speculative fiction. My goal was to feature writers (and characters) of every race, religion, nationality, gender and sexual orientation, given that diversity is vitally important to me. I’d acquired years of valuable business experience in insurance and law. But publishing was new to me. So I assembled a team of top-notch advisors in editorial, design, production, promotion, and marketing and made a go of it. Four years on, we’ve published nearly a dozen quality titles of which I’m very proud.
TF: Cloud Lodge Books have some very striking covers for their books. Can you tell us how important you think a good and memorable cover is to the success of a book in store or online?
WC: As my mother always told me, to get to ones stomach and soul, a good dish must first enter through ones eyes. This was the philosophy that came to mind when I thought about CLB’s book covers. In reality, at its best, a book cover is a work of fine art that first reaches its audience through their eyes. And I wanted CLB’s covers to be among the most notable, instantly recognisable as one of ours. Happily, the effort we’ve put into working with our cover designers has proven worthwhile; we’ve been told time and again by purchasers that they bought this or that title primarily because of the cover. So in my experience, a memorable cover indeed contributes to the success of a book, whether in store or online.
TF: Many of your covers are designed by a studio called La Boca. Can you tell us about your working relationship with them? How do you brief them? How involved are the authors in the briefing and in approval of the eventual design?
WC: La Boca Design is an award-winning graphic design studio responsible for many iconic film posters and book covers. Their bold, daring designs perfectly reflected the visual aesthetic we wanted to achieve for our book covers. We reached out to them, and I was delighted that they agreed to work with us. With regards to our La Boca designed covers, Cloud Lodge Books exercises complete control over the design brief without any input from the authors. Specifically, we send La Boca a design brief and the associated manuscript, which they use to produce a number of roughs, usually six or seven. We then work to narrow down and refine the several roughs to two or three, and so on, until we have a final cover.
TF: We are running this interview primarily because we have been very impressed both by the writing of the three books by your author Orlando Ortega-Medina – and also by their covers. The covers for Jerusalem Ablaze and for The Death of Baseball – both absolutely brilliant – were designed by La Boca. For Orlando’s latest book (The Savior of 6th Street) due to be published in October, you have chosen a design from a painting by New York artist, Gerardo Castro. Can you tell us a little about the process and why Gerardo was selected to create this striking cover?
WC: With THE SAVIOR OF 6TH STREET, we deviated from our usual cover-design process. The author, Orlando Ortega-Medina, specifically requested that we consider featuring Gerardo Castro’s artwork on the cover; he felt strongly that Castro’s Santería-inspired paintings perfectly evoked the ethos of his new novel. Once we saw examples of Castro’s stunning work, we were delighted it lined up well with CLB’s vision for the portrayal of the novel. So we green-lighted the project; Orlando connected with Castro; and our cover technician adapted Castro’s painting Afrofuturism Yemaya for production. We’re all really pleased with how it turned out. It’s yet another memorable CLB cover.
TF: While doing some research before this interview, I discovered that you and Orlando have ‘double lives’ as senior executives in the successful US immigration law firm Ortega Medina & Associates, and that Orlando is in fact an Attorney at Law. It would be fascinating to hear how literary work (for both of you) fits alongside this.
WC: There really is no crossover to speak of. Cloud Lodge Books is my baby, and I operate it as a separate venture; it’s my second job, if you will. And, as you can imagine, Orlando’s law firm is serious business and necessarily operates independently from our respective activities outside of work. I understand he writes from 6 to 8 every morning before going in to the office so that it doesn’t interfere with his day job. In short, we both love literature and have each found our own unique way to make our individualised contribution to the industry.
A big thank you to William for answering all out questions so comprehensively…
Tony for the TripFiction team
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